Saturday, September 08, 2007

Last day in Moscow. Wah.

Sunday face update – the skin on either side of my jaw felt crinkly. That couldn’t be good.

Kathie and I had a free day, meaning that we hadn’t signed up for any tours. So we set off for the Pushkin Museum to see the Trojan stuff stolen from the Nazis at the end of World War II. Kathie likes antiquities. Me, I figure the Russians should have taken a whole lot more stuff to make up for the 20 million people they lost.

First, we stopped back by the Christ our Savior Cathedral and got this shot of the front.

When we finally found the Pushkin and walked in, it took us a bit to find the exhibit we were looking for. The docents either didn’t speak English or they didn’t understand why we would be looking for the Trojan exhibit. We finally found it and it was pretty nice. Just about everything was gold and intricate. I think Kathie was satisfied; she’d gotten her antiquities fix for the day.

I think this is the museum that we’d heard housed a lot of reproductions created by university students, so we blew briefly through the sculpture room on our way out. Looking through Kathie’s guidebook now, however, I see that this museum has a pretty impressive collection of fine art, including pieces by Monet, Degas, Kandinsky, and Chagall. Who knew? I’m glad we didn’t stay though; I like art as well as the next guy but after a room or two full of it, I start getting glassy-eyed.

Outside, we had a little trouble orienting ourselves and even more trouble finding a way to cross Manezhnaya Ulitsa (ulitsa = street) to get over to Red Square. Finally, we jaywalked across a not so busy street to a tunnel that crossed under the very busy Manezh Street, and we came out in Alexander Garden. Here we got this shot of what looks like an excavation of the Kremlin wall foundation.

Walking through the crowd at the north end of Red Square, we passed several street vendors. One guy had a monkey and a falcon chained to a wooden crate. Very sad and truly weird. Can’t imagine seeing something like that in NYC. Now, a naked cowboy playing a guitar maybe…

Here's a shot of Kazan Cathedral on the northeastern corner of Red Square. It's a reconstruction of the original that was demolished in 1936. That devil Stalin.

The square itself was barricaded off and deserted - except for a pathetic little parade of six or eight peeps waving Communist Party placards. When they passed, the uniformed guys removed the barricades and the square filled with people again, but not before Kathie could snap this shot.

We returned to the blini place in GUM where we saw a couple of our fellow cruisers, Diane and Ruth, who asked us for directions back to the ship. We told them we’d take them back by way of the Metro, if they liked, right after we visited Varvarka Street. They were game, so after we finished our lunches, we set out for Varvarka.

I just love that name. It just sounds so Russian to me. You’d never know that it was named after a St. Barbara, would you?

We strolled along and stopped here and there to get some photos. As usual, Kathie went to extremes to get good shots.

At one point, a man who looked to be in his forties and wearing worn fatigues approached us with an offer to sell us some Moscow postcards. We smiled and said, “Nyet, spacibo,” to him and turned back to our discussion regarding how to get to the Church of the Trinity in Nikitniki (I think that’s what we were looking for - wasn’t it, Kath?) He proceeded to give us directions in unaccented American English, shocking us all. I don’t remember his story now, why he had spent time in the U.S., but he was a nice guy and we thanked him for his directions and crossed the street in our quest.

The ship left for St. Petersburg at 5:30. Kathie and I were sad to leave Moscow. Inga had told us that we would like St. Petersburg better, but we doubted that would be possible.

After dinner, all of us went out on deck to watch as we went through our first set of locks. I hadn’t even seen a lock before, so this was a huge thrill for me. The engineering behind raising or lowering the water in a canal by thirty six feet is just way beyond my comprehension.

Oh, and here's a photo of the ship's kitten. See his little perch? He seemed to know he wasn't supposed to get down. Maybe he just didn't want to leave his birdie pal, whose cage Kathie could see just behind the curtain.

Tomorrow, Uglich.


Katharine said...

Wow, we got some darn good pictures, didn't we. That extra effort to avoid the power lines pays off.

Pat said...

Yup, I think they're pretty special. Notice how most of the pics I've posted so far are ones you took. :)

Katharine said...

Didn't I tell you to watch those power lines?

Pam said...

Wow! What a fun trip - I need to catch up.

Pat said...

From the looks of things, you've been pretty busy yourself. But yes - we did have a blast, Pam!

Kappa no He said...

I'm learning Russian! "ulitsa" and "nyet spacibo". Wait for me Putin, wait for me!

I dislike powerlines too. I love the colors!